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Interesting Russian turning tools

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Forum topic by Rick M. posted 11-25-2013 04:35 AM 2155 views 1 time favorited 25 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Rick M.

3977 posts in 1037 days


11-25-2013 04:35 AM

Topic tags/keywords: russian matryoshka turning lathe doll tool

Watching a tv show today called How do they do it?, basically another How It’s Made type show. Anyway they were showing a Matryoshka doll factory in Russia. The wood is rough turned on customized metal lathes then the blanks go to a platoon of big Russian women for turning. They use a hollow jam chuck and just pound in the blank but what I found more interesting were the turning tools. Instead of chisel based tools theirs were more like skinning knives.

I don’t have any pictures of the actual tools but if you imagine the knife below with an 18” handle, that’s it. The women used them like skews and were very effective.

Their hollowing tool was a bar with a blade curled into a C shape. Total I saw 6 different turning tools

Update: the actual tool

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|


25 replies so far

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murch

1151 posts in 1281 days


#1 posted 11-25-2013 10:04 AM

Interesting. We get that show on the satellite channels. I’ll keep an eye open for it.

-- A family man has photos in his wallet where his money used to be.

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doubleDD

2473 posts in 700 days


#2 posted 11-25-2013 03:42 PM

Rick, do you see any value in this to try and make one, or was this more of a observe view?

-- --Dave, Downers Grove, Il. When you run out of ideas, start building your dreams

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Planeman40

476 posts in 1418 days


#3 posted 11-25-2013 05:37 PM

Yeah, I saw that show and wondered about those Russian turning tools too. They use it as a “skew”, however it has a thin rounded blade edge that seems to work beautifully. It slices the wood and leaves a very smooth finish. I also noted the use of a “mashed potato” filler applied before painting. Yes, it is simply a thin uncooked finely mashed potato in water (cream-like consistency) applied in three coats, drying in between each coat. And the potato mush is just applied by hand . . . literally. And I noted the finial painted finish was a beautiful high gloss! So the potato filler must really work well. and its CHEAP!

I just may try to make one of those Russian-style turning tools. At least SOMEONE on this forum should give it a try!

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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Rick M.

3977 posts in 1037 days


#4 posted 11-25-2013 05:46 PM

(edit – Ha! we posted the same thing but you posted while I was typing!!)

I think it would be worth trying. They were used like a skew, riding the bevel on top of the turning. The turners used a smaller version as a parting tool, cutting straight in but on an angle making a V shaped cut, just like parting with a skew. The cutting edge was an acute angle, more like a carving knife, and sharpened on both sides.

They mentioned sanding the pieces but it looked to me like they took them straight off the lathe to finishing. The dolls are given 3 coats of a potato paste primer over several days then painted by hand. Finally they are finished with shellac which is applied with bare hands. The episode can be seen on Amazon Prime but it’s not free.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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Thermaloy

21 posts in 685 days


#5 posted 12-29-2013 04:53 PM

I have recorded this show (in the UK) and am trying to find a supplier of the skew in particular, before going to a tool manufacturer and asking them to create one for me to my specification. Does anyone know of a supplier of these specialist Russian turning tools, please?

Liked the potato starch primer glooped onto the wood, 3 coats, before painting. Question: what do you do to a potato in order to extract the starch – is it a question of scraping the potato through a grater? If that is the case then the remaining potato sludge, in an old recipe, makes a very good crisply fried accompaniment to scrambled eggs or omelettes! When I discovered the recipe it said nothing about any use for the liquid starch that was separated out.

-- Thermaloy

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Loren

7567 posts in 2305 days


#6 posted 12-29-2013 05:02 PM

I haven’t tried potato, but I made rice starch by cooking it in a lot of
water so it won’t burn and just turns to mush. I may have squeezed
it through cheesecloth. I stapled a piece of silk to a drum frame,
pulling it tight. Then I rubbed the rice paste in and it dried to
make a membrane that could move air. Later I replaced it with
some plastic drafting vellum but the rice paste worked fine… I
think the silk tore at the staples.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Thermaloy

21 posts in 685 days


#7 posted 12-29-2013 06:33 PM

Thank you, Loren. Might try that once the Russian skews have been sourced and tested.

-- Thermaloy

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MacNut11

19 posts in 693 days


#8 posted 12-30-2013 02:00 AM

Not the same tool, video or factory but still interesting videos on making Matryoshka dolls:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D794_X7js5w

and another:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VhR9ALVd0Js

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Rick M.

3977 posts in 1037 days


#9 posted 12-30-2013 08:41 AM

That factory has been in business for a really long time making those dolls, I suspect the knife/skews are something they invented. I did try a google search after watching the episode but found nothing like them. You could probably start with a carbon steel slick or scraper and modify into something similar.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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Thermaloy

21 posts in 685 days


#10 posted 12-30-2013 05:22 PM

Thank you, MacNutt11 and Rick M. The videos were interesting. As far as designing a tool is concerned, a local blacksmith is working on my design submission. Once that is to hand, and modified it if necessary, then a major UK manufacturer has agreed to look at it with a view to possible production. The round shaft rather than the heavy flat blade of the standard skew is an attraction, as is the steeply raked cutting edge.

-- Thermaloy

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Planeman40

476 posts in 1418 days


#11 posted 12-30-2013 06:15 PM

I would buy one of those “Russian design” turning tools if the price wasn’t too much. I may even try making one of my own.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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Jim Jakosh

11483 posts in 1762 days


#12 posted 12-30-2013 06:33 PM

Very neat. Thanks,Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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Thermaloy_Jnr

22 posts in 259 days


#13 posted 01-05-2014 03:10 PM

If only I could line up my wood between two centers as easily as they line up the jam chuck with a couple of hefty clonks from the rear of an ax head!

-- Thermaloy_Jnr

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Planeman40

476 posts in 1418 days


#14 posted 01-06-2014 01:54 AM

But that is the wonder of jam chucks! Just cram a chunk of wood between two jam chucks, set it spinning, and cut off anything that sticks out until you get a round blank. No careful marking of centers. You lose some wood that way, but when you have the entire Russian forest outside your door who cares! It makes for fast production though.

Planeman

-- Always remember: It is a mathematical certainty that half the people in this country are below average in intelligence!

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Rick M.

3977 posts in 1037 days


#15 posted 01-06-2014 06:38 AM

If I remember from the episode, it was just one conical wood jam chuck and they would just smack the blank in there and get it nearly perfect every time but then they are production turners doing it day in and day out.

-- |Statistics show that 100% of people bitten by a snake were close to it.|

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